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The Portrait of a Lady, Volume 1




Librivox recording of The Portrait of a Lady, by Henry James.

The Portrait of a Lady is a novel by Henry James, first published as a serial in The Atlantic Monthly and Macmillan's Magazine in 1880-1881 and then as a book in 1881. It is the story of a spirited young American woman, Isabel Archer, who "affronts her destiny" and finds it overwhelming. She inherits a large amount of money and subsequently becomes the victim of Machiavellian scheming by two American expatriates. Like many of James's novels, it is set mostly in Europe, notably England and Italy.

Generally regarded as the masterpiece of his early phase of writing, this novel reflects James's absorbing interest in the differences between the New World and the Old. It also treats in a profound way the themes of personal freedom, responsibility, betrayal, and sexuality.
(Summary from Wikipedia)

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For further information, including links to online text, reader information, RSS feeds, CD cover or other formats (if available), please go to the LibriVox catalog page for this recording.

Download M4B Part 1 (200MB)
Download M4B Part 2 (150MB)


Source Librivox recording of a public-domain text
Run time 12:28:16

Reviews

Reviewer: rutherina - - April 1, 2014
Subject: Portrait of A Lady
I find that the readers are easier to understand if I have a hardcopy of the book to glance at now and then.
It is my opinion that each reader has merits and consistent attempts at pronunciation, making interpreting their translation acceptable.
I enjoy the variety and some of the voices are beginning to sound familiar.
Such a treat.
Reviewer: librivoxbooks - - November 16, 2013
Subject: Re: Casting issues
Thank you for your thoughtful review. There is no 'casting' at LibriVox. Readers volunteer to read whatever they wish. The reading is acceptable as long as they are understandable. I appreciate that 'understandable' is subjective. If there is any question of intelligibility, the reading is reviewed by a mix of experienced listeners.

Occasionally even readers with standard British pronunciation (RP) are apparently unintelligible to some US listeners ;). I, as a reader whom you have reviewed elsewhere, have discovered this, to my surprise.
Reviewer: Donald R Miller - - November 16, 2013
Subject: Accents And Casting Issues
Dear LibrivoxBooks,

Maybe I'm just fortunate, but I don't have problems understanding people with accents. Nevertheless, the issue goes beyond any one person, for it involves everyone undertaking a community reading. As a hypothetical example (although not that much of one)-- I find it jarring to have a man with a thick southern accent followed by a woman with a fine English accent, followed by someone with . . . well, you get the idea.

I'm familiar enough with the voices of the volunteer readers to know that some go together very well. That's a good casting strategy, in my opinion. Another one is to use the voices of those with accents to the best possible effect. If one would imagine the narrator of a story having a particular accent, it seems to me that someone with that type of accent is well-served, along with the listeners, to using it effectively in that way.
Reviewer: Llewxam - - September 14, 2013
Subject: Regarding readers' accents
Yes, at times and in particularly lengthy works such as this, readers from around the world generously give their time and mind to read a chapter or two for we English speaking folk. It is an exercise of patience to listen, and that is a beautiful thing!

In the beginning, I read War and Peace; why not, I thought! I wanted to see what the fuss was about! There was one voice I dreaded. At first. I could tell in the first seconds by the quality and background of his recording environment that his chapter was next. I bristled; I felt my "American" pride and prejudice, but recognized those feelings only as indignation. "That thick accent", I thought, "...no business reading this (RUSSIAN!) masterpiece in "barely decipherable language! An Asian, REALLY" . Then, Leo's heart-stirring just whipped me. Next time the gentleman's voice came on, I connected with him (in Montana, of all places. He sounded like he'd been holed up since Pearl Harbor, his "accent" was so "thick"). I felt the humanity of all connected over time, space, and love of it all.
Reviewer: sylwiam - - March 26, 2013
Subject: The Lady
I enjoyed the story and the recordings were of great help. There is 1 problem :( : It was hard to understand one reader. I had to replay the chapters. All in all, great job and many thanks. Best Regards to All. S.
Reviewer: amsurb - - January 7, 2013
Subject: Great Story....One reader's accent too thick
I enjoyed this story immensely! The only drawback is that one of the reader's accent is so thick that she is barely understandable, which was very disappointing
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